Email to bngbirds egroup, about the Eaglenest WLS trip

December 5, 2013

On a tour organized by Geetanjali Dhar’s IT Nature Club, ten of us visited Nameri (a morning’s birding) and Eaglenest Wild Life Sanctuary (WLS) at Lama and Bompu Camps.

Though several experienced birders asked us why we were going at the end of November, the birding exceeded all our expectations. On the very first day, I saw two Buguns, and a couple of days later, we got to see seven of the birds, so I cannot but feel that these birds are thriving in the areas around Eaglenest, if a bunch of amateurs like us could see so many!

Other highlights were the Fire-tailed Myzornis, the Chestnut-headed Tesia, the Red-headed Trogon and a female Ward’s Trogon…I think it was only the Tragopan (on the list of some of the “focus” birders) that eluded us. I don’t think any of us have ever had such a list of lifers before this!

Our guides were excellent. Binanda, who is a regular guide with Geetanjali, made sure that all of us (or at least, as many as possible) saw each bird, even though most of the birds of Eaglenest are in-the-clutter skulkers, and small-sized, too, sometimes. Khandu, the guide at Lama Camp, has incredible spotting skills. We were equally lucky to have Lobsang Tsering as a guide. He was at Bompu Camp, training the staff there...a six-month project after which he will move on. On the day we were driving back to Lama Camp, he took us to a place where he said he would find the Fire-tailed Myzornis....found it...and all of us were able to have a look at it (alas, no chance of observing any behaviour...we were thrilled at our sighting!). The bazooka-bearers, of course, had several field days with their photographs, but the rest of us (some of us did not even carry cameras, only binoculars) were extremely pleased at the sightings, and we know that the DSLR photos will be that saves us the bother of lugging around heavy cameras, and looking for ways to charge them overnight! One of my personal favourites was watching a Wallcreeper bathing and disporting itself in the waters of the Kameng river, and I also took videos of a far-away Forktail, and a Trogon, on the opposite bank of the river, both of which we watched for a while. The Beautiful Nuthatch and the Beautiful Sibia are truly beautiful...but how can this adjective be applied only to a few of the birds? All of them are stunningly beautiful! I also mistook the Black-faced Warbler for the Yellow-bellied Fantail, and was corrected by Binanda. Two major "dips" for me at Nameri were the Wreathed and Rufous-necked Hornbills, which I had seen in plenty just past the Eco-camp walking towards the Jia Bharolli river on my last visit. We also arrived at Pakke far too late to do any birding, and the awful roads mandated a very early departure, in order to catch flights at Guwahati later in the day. For the most part, this time, I was content to just see the incredibly beautiful birds that Subbu and Mohanram treated us to in 2008 ( the time from whichn I date my "Eaglenest Itch"!) by word and image. I did not miss my DSLR or the 300mm lens. Since the others' bazooka shots will also be up shortly, I am very happy to say that I used the two best cameras in the world, that Nature has provided me with.....and enjoyed the birds, the many butterflies, the beautiful wildflowers, and the superb, awe-inspiring scenery. For photos of the Fire-tailed Myzornis: In similar fashion, you can see photographs of all of the long list below...and I hope it will inspire you to visit Eaglenest WLS, a paradise on earth that the Bugun tribe cares for. I have put up the only four videos I took, all on the last day of birding, at My SMS (Shamelessly Mediocre Shots) are on my FB album at Cheers, Deepa. Group: Binanda, Khandu and Lobsang, guides. (Our Sumo driver Noren, was also very good!) Albin and Manjula Balaji and Deepa Dr Anil and Dr Koushik (Kanpur) Nandita (Baroda) and Shobna (Delhi) Kshama and yours truly (the rest of uf from Bangalore) The bird list was prepared by Deepa Jayaraman...with inputs from everyone. I have (I think) corrected some id's (eg she'd listed the Lesser Yellownape as Woodpecker, Lesser Yellownape.) If there are any mistakes, I take the responsibility. 1. Accentor, Maroon-backed 2. Adjutant, Lesser 3. Adjutant, Greater 4. Babbler, Golden 5. Babbler, Rufous-capped 6. Babbler, Slender-billed Scimitar 7. Babbler, Streak Throated Scimitar 8. Babbler, Streaked Wren 9. Barbet, Blue-throated 10. Barbet, Golden-throated 11. Barbet, Great 12. Barbet, Lineated 13. Barwing, Hoary -throated 14. Barwing, Rusty Fronted 15. Bee-Eater, Chestnut Headed 16. Bee-Eater, Green 17. Blackbird, Grey-winged 18. Blackbird, White-collared 19. Bluetail, Himalayan (aka. Robin , Orange Flanked Bush) 20. Bulbul, Black-crested 21. Bulbul, Mountain 22. Bulbul, Red-vented 23. Bulbul, Striated 24. Bullfinch, Grey-headed 25. Buzzard, Upland 26. Cormorant 27. Crow, House 28. Crow, Thick-billed 29. Cuckoo , Grey-bellied 30. Cuckoo-Shrike , Black-winged 31. Darter 32. Dipper, Brown 33. Drongo, Black 34. Drongo, Bronzed 35. Drongo, Greater Racket-tailed 36. Duck, Tufted 37. Eagle , Mountain Hawk 38. Eagle, Black 39. Egret, Cattle 40. Egret, Little 41. Fantail , Yellow-bellied 42. Fantail, White-throated 43. Finch, Crimson-browed 44. Finch, Gold-naped 45. Finch, Scarlet 46. Flameback, un id 47. Flowerpecker, Fire Breasted 48. Flycatcher, Grey Headed Canary 49. Flycatcher, Red-breasted (Heard) 50. Flycatcher, Rufous-gorgeted 51. Flycatcher, Ultramarine 52. Flycatcher, White-gorgeted 53. Forktail, Little 54. Forktail, Spotted 55. Fulvetta, Brown-throated 56. Fulvetta, Golden-breasted 57. Fulvetta, Yellow-throated 58. Grebe, Greater Crested 59. Greenfinch, Black-headed 60. Greenfinch, Yellow-breasted 61. Hornbill, Great 62. Hornbill, Rufous-necked (seen flying over Bompu Camp) 63. Ibisbill 64. Iora, Common 65. Kingfisher, Pied 66. KingFisher, Small Blue 67. KingFisher, White-throated 68. Kite, Black 69. Lapwing, River 70. Laughing Thrush, Bhutan 71. Laughing Thrush, Greysided 72. Laughing Thrush, Spotted 73. Laughingthrush, Streaked 74. Laughingthrush, Striated 75. Leafbird, Golden-fronted 76. LeafBird, Orange-bellied 77. Liocichla, Bugun 78. Magpie, Yellow-billed Blue 79. Malkhoa, Green-billed 80. Malkoha, Sirkeer 81. Minivet, Grey-chinned 82. Minivet, Scarlet 83. Minla, Red-tailed 84. Muniya, Scaly-breasted 85. Myna, Common 86. Myna, Hill 87. Myzornis, Fire-tailed 88. Niltava, Large 89. Niltava, Small 90. Nuthatch, Beautiful 91. Nuthatch, White-tailed 92. Openbill, Asian 93. Oriole, Black-hooded 94. Owlet, Asian Barred 95. Parakeet, Red-breasted 96. Parrot, Vernal Hanging 97. Parrotbill, Greater Rufous-headed 98. Parrotbill, Grey-headed 99. Parrotbill, Lesser Rufous-headed 100. Partridge, un id 101. Pigeon, Blue Rock 102. Pigeon, Yellow-footed Green 103. Pigeon, Speckled Wood 104. Pigeon, Wedge-tailed 105. Pippit, Olive-backed 106. Plover, Little Ringed 107. Pochard, Ferruginous 108. Pond Heron, Indian 109. Prinia, Black-throated 110. Redstart, Blue-fronted 111. Redstart, Plumbeous Water 112. Redstart, White-browed water 113. Robin, Orange-flanked Bush 114. Robin, White-browed Bush 115. Rock Thrush, Blue 116. Roller, Indian 117. Rosefinch, Dark-breasted 118. RubyThroat, Siberian 119. RubyThroat, White Tailed 120. Shelduck, Ruddy 121. Shikra 122. Shrike, Grey-backed 123. Shrike, Long-tailed 124. Shrike-Babbler, White-browed 125. Sibia, Beautiful 126. Sibia, Long-tailed 127. Siva, Bar-throated (aka Minla, Chestnut-tailed) 128. Siva, Blue Winged (aka Minla, Blue-winged) 129. Pipit, un id 130. Sparrow, Eurasian Tree 131. Sparrow, House 132. Starling, Asian Pied 133. Starling, Chestnut-tailed 134. Stonechat, Common 135. Stork, Black 136. Sunbird, Black-throated 137. Sunbird, Green-tailed 138. Sunbird, un id 139. Sunbird, Mrs Gould's 140. Tailorbird, Common 141. Tesia, Chestnut-headed 142. Tesia, Slaty-breasted (heard) 143. Thrush, Chestnut-bellied Rock 144. Thrush, Plain-backed 145. Tit, Black-throated 146. Tit, Green-backed 147. Tit, Sultan 148. Tit, Yellow-cheeked 149. Treecreeper, Brown-thorated 150. Treepie, Collared 151. Treepie, Grey 152. Trogon, Red-headed 153. Trogon, Ward's 154. Wagtail , White 155. Wagtail, White-browed 156. Wallcreeper 157. Warbler, Ashy-throated 158. Warbler, Black-faced 159. Warbler, Blyth's Leaf 160. Warbler, Dusky 161. Warbler, Golden-spectacled 162. Warbler, Greenish 163. Warbler, Grey-cheeked 164. Whistling-Duck, Lesser 165. WoodPecker, Brown Capped Pygmy 166. Woodpecker, Rufous-bellied 167. Woodswallow, Ashy 168. Yellownape, Lesser 169. Yuhina, Rufous-vented 170. Yuhina, Stripe-throated 171. Yuhina, Whiskered 172. Yuhina, White-naped

Thanks to Amith Kumar for adding some of tbe birds missing in the original list. That, too, as he, Gowri, Kannan and PK prepare to leave for Thattekkad tomorrow!